As often happens at this time of year, I had a birthday last week. Which thanks to the capitalist culture in which we live, is an acceptable excuse to receive presents. And there was one particular present I wanted to receive, and to ensure that, I went shopping for it myself, a bottle of Sambuca.
Now this isn't exactly a common drink in Japan, but it is something that on occasion I have had the opportunity to pay $8 or $9 dollars for a shot of at a bar, so I know it does exist somewhere. Over the course of a week I visited about 10 different bottle shops that I found on my travels around Tokyo, no luck. Until the day before my birthday.
At a tiny little shop just down the road from where I live, on the back of a shelf, which I had to climb over some packing cases to reach, was a dusty old bottle of Sambuca. I climbed up and got it down, only to find the price tag had faded into unreadability, but then this is what bar codes are for so I took it to the counter.
They scanned it, and well, turns out it had spent more time sitting on the shelf gathering dust than I had expected. The bottle pre-dated the computer system, so its bar code wasn't in the computer! They refused to sell it to me, without a price tag, no offer I could make would convince the people behind the counter to part with their newly discovered rare and pressure drink. Damn it.